It’s that fireworks and barbecue time of the year again. No doubt, among your friends and loved ones it can be wiled away debating who makes the best potato salad and who is most likely to almost go to the hospital over the fireworks. But maybe you want to debate something different this year.
To that end, we’ve decided to compile a list of the best and most under appreciated places to spend the 4th of July in and around the 50 states with a premium on encountering like minded Hip Hop people with whom to enjoy it. Don’t read that as a singles/hookup deal, but as it’s often been said, the Lord helps those who help themselves. So take that with a grain of salt and a roll of the dice.
- Atlanta, Georgia. As always, Atlanta is a great city when it comes to partying it up with the people. This year, the Centennial Olympic Park is where it’s at when it comes to the 4th and enjoying free music and many forms of live entertainment suitable for the whole family. It also doesn’t hurt that the fireworks won’t be skimpy as Atlanta boats the biggest fireworks display in the Southeast.
- Manhattan, New York – Though it has been reported that some inclement weather might be rolling into NYC in the form of high winds and a Tornado watch, despite the weather Manhattan always over performs when it comes to fireworks and the legendary Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular Show. A 25 minute show that brags some of the best and most “spectacular” fireworks are set off to much pomp and circumstance over the East River every year. To get an even closer look, many opt to try one of the July 4th fireworks cruises offered by the New York Classic Harbor Line. But be warned to check the weather forecast first this year.
- Long Beach, California – When it comes to Long Beach, much like Manhattan, it’s all about the water on July 4th, but the vessel tends to be the Queen Mary. The RMS Queen Mary is Long Beach’s as a permanently moored 1936 ocean liner that has been refurbished as a swank floating hotel offering luxe staterooms, swanky restaurants and its own day spa, tearoom and amazing sundeck. For many years it has been the place to enjoy an All American themed July 4th with live entertainment and stunning views of one of the best fireworks displays in Los Angeles. While it must be noted that the live music isn’t exactly Hip Hop at The Queen Mary, the views and the celebration go far in placating those who wish they were blasting something with a little more soul. If the Queen Mary experience isn’t quite the thing, there is always the July 4th BBQ hosted by The Aquarium Of The Pacific, The Bluff Heights Block Party, and for those looking for something that feels a bit more expensive, the historic 4th of July party in the Sky Room at the very top of the Breakers building. Surely you won’t be bored.
- Oahu, Hawaii. As Oahu was the site of Pearl Harbor and remains the site of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the 4th of July never ceases to be a big deal. With the Ala Moana Center and Beach Park annually hosting one of the biggest fireworks displays in the nation, it’s a must see if the spectacle of big exploding lights in a tropical setting equals your penultimate idea of fun for the 4th. Tours of Pearl Harbor are always a big thing for the island, and there is also the Da Hui 38th annual paddle board race, as well as the Kailua Fourth of July Parade and Airshow to get your 4th of July celebrations going.
- St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. As our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean have never been known for not bringing some flair to a party, if you spend your 4th of July in St. John, not only will you see red, white and blue, but many other colors to compliment a rich and joyous tradition of parade floats, street parties and 4th of July themed carnival. In particular, there is a group of Afro Caribbean Indians who sport purple feathers when they come out and celebrate in all of their July 4th finery. As an added bonus, the celebrating starts on July 3rd, with Emancipation Day, in celebration of the date that the Danish colonizers set the slaves on the island free in 1848. The following day, in keeping with St. John’s status as a U.S. Territory since 1917, the party extends into a full bodied celebration of the 4th of July.
- Liberia. The Republic of Liberia, a country in West Africa that began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society, is an unlikely but interesting place to celebrate independence twice. As Liberia declared it’s independence from America as it’s own country on July 26, 1847, Liberians have been known to celebrate July 4th but really save the celebrations and parades for July 26th. So, while it might not be hopping on July 4th it’s potentially a great place to do a redo of the whole independence thing West African style come the 26th.